By  on July 10, 2007

John Hardy, founder of the namesake Bali jewelry brand, has sold his stake in the firm to company president Damien Dernoncourt and creative director Guy Bedarida. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hardy will become the brand's ambassador and continue to help provide creative vision. His wife, Cynthia, will be a merchandising consultant. Terri Eagle, who joined the company from competitor David Yurman in 2005, will retain the title of president and chief executive officer of John Hardy USA.

"In a world of many possibilities, I have taken the necessary steps to ensure that the brand realizes its full potential," Hardy said in a statement. "Damien has taken the reins and I support him fully. I will now be able to do what I do best, which is to focus on environmental leadership, preservation of local culture and traditions, and social responsibility."

Dernoncourt, 35, has been president since 2003, and Bedarida, 43, has been in his role since 1999. An unnamed private equity firm backed the deal and Lincoln International acted as a financial adviser. It is unclear whether Hardy owned the majority in the firm or if he had partners.

Hardy's sales in the U.S. reached $150 million last year. The brand, known for its nature-inspired pieces using bamboo and indigenous Balinese flora in its silver and 18-karat gold jewelry, has started expanding internationally to China, Japan, Russia and the Middle East. The brand is sold in Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

"We are a lifestyle brand and our strength is really in jewelry," Dernoncourt said. "We are about handmade luxury product and luxury with a soul. We believe that it's a brand with a real spirit, a real soul and a great future. The brand attributes are very strong."

Bedarida said, "We're really following the heritage that John has given us. John is sort of a spiritual father to us. It's an incredible, exciting new era."

All of Hardy's products are made on his compound in Bali. The company has headquarters in Hong Kong and 1,400 employees across the globe.

John and Cynthia Hardy are opening a day school in Bali called Kul-Kul, for nursery through eighth grade. The school, which will teach ecological and social sustainability, will have boarding facilities and, eventually, a high school.In the past few years, the brand has focused on its core competency, women's jewelry. Now it plans to expand the distribution of its home collection and will show at Maison et Objet in Paris in January.

Up next for the brand are a slew of stores in the Middle East, Europe and Japan, with partners that will be announced in the next few months. The firm has one store in Malaysia and another in Hong Kong.

The company has no plans to roll out stores in the U.S., with the exception of a Manhattan flagship slated to open in the next 18 months.

The company's focus will be on its Cinta collection, which offers one-of-a-kind pieces with rare stones.

"There are multiple opportunities," Dernoncourt said. "We want to give a real energy to the Cinta collection."

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